Daniel Sturridge is considering leaving Liverpool in the January transfer window, according to reports over the weekend.
The 28-year-old has found chances few and far between this season, making just four starts for the Reds, in all competitions.
Roberto Firmino is the undisputed first-choice centre-forward for Liverpool, and with several key attackers all back fit, competition will be even more fierce for Sturridge to get game time in 2017/18.
The Mirror‘s Darren Lewis claims that Sturridge is “ready to quit Liverpool in January”, due to fearing for his place in England’s squad at next summer’s World Cup.
International teams invariably select four or five strikers in their 23-man party for major tournaments, and competition for the Three Lions is strong in that area.
Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford and Jamie Vardy all look highly likely to be on the plane, and the likes of Jermain Defoe, Tammy Abraham and Sturridge’s Liverpool team-mate Dominic Solanke could be in the reckoning, too.
Sturridge was left out of England’s most recent squad for the friendlies against Germany and Brazil, and if Lewis’ report is to be believed, that could be the moment which saw him consider his Anfield future.
There certainly wouldn’t be a lack of suitors if Sturridge was allowed to leave—he remains Liverpool’s most gifted finisher—even if he isn’t the player that shone so brightly back in 2013/14.
He has the ability to almost single-handedly steer a relegation-threatened side clear of the drop, or inspire a mid-table outfit towards European qualification.
It seems unlikely that Jurgen Klopp would be willing to sell Sturridge, however, with injuries always possible and the Reds’ schedule likely to be relentless after Christmas.
The former Chelsea and Man City man will be a useful squad member as winter turns to spring, and selling him would make little sense, unless a replacement was lined up.
Liverpool have never shown any real interest in moving Sturridge on to pastures new—rumours about him leaving in July cooled very quickly—and that shouldn’t change for the time being.
It is understandable why he may be fearful about missing out on the World Cup, but he should still enjoy enough playing time to impress Gareth Southgate between now and May.